Wednesday, June 12, 2024

A Guide to Using Marijuana for Medicinal Purposes


A Guide to Using Marijuana for Medicinal Purposes

Marijuana has been used medicinally for thousands of years. In recent years, many countries have legalised medical marijuana as an alternative treatment for certain health conditions. Here is a guide to using marijuana for medicinal purposes in the UK.

What Conditions Can Marijuana Treat?

Marijuana contains active compounds called cannabinoids, including THC and CBD, that interact with the body's endocannabinoid system. This system regulates various functions including pain, appetite, mood and sleep. Marijuana can potentially help relieve symptoms of the following conditions:

  • Chronic pain - Marijuana can reduce pain signals to the brain, helpful for chronic pain conditions like arthritis, fibromyalgia, and multiple sclerosis.
  • Nausea and vomiting - Marijuana can reduce nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy or HIV/AIDS treatment. 
  • Appetite stimulation - Marijuana increases appetite which can help with weight loss and eating disorders. It's sometimes used by HIV or cancer patients. 
  • Muscle spasms - Marijuana can relieve involuntary muscle spasms caused by multiple sclerosis and paraplegia. 
  • Glaucoma - Marijuana can lower eye pressure caused by this eye disease. 
  • Anxiety disorders - Low doses of marijuana may reduce anxiety. High doses could worsen anxiety so microdosing is recommended.
  • Sleep disorders - Marijuana can help people fall asleep faster and improve nighttime awakenings. It suppresses REM sleep which could impact sleep quality.
  • PTSD - Some early research shows marijuana can help reduce PTSD symptoms including nightmares and agitation. More research is still needed.
  • Epilepsy - CBD-based marijuana drugs Epidiolex and Sativex are licensed to treat some epileptic conditions. Marijuana appears to reduce seizure frequency.

How is Medical Marijuana Consumed?

There are several methods to take marijuana for medicinal use:

  • Smoking - Marijuana can be smoked in hand-rolled cigarettes (joints), pipes or bongs, which you can purchase from outlets like the Bong Shop, Smoking provides rapid effects but lung health risks.
  • Vaping - Marijuana extracts or dried buds can be vaped using e-cigarettes or vape pens. This also has quick effects without the risks of smoking.
  • Edibles - Marijuana is infused into food items like cookies, gummies and oils. Effects take longer (30-90 mins) but last longer. Dosing can be tricky with edibles.
  • Tinctures - Marijuana infused into alcohol solutions called tinctures can be taken under the tongue. Effects come on in 15-30 mins. 
  • Topicals - Creams, ointments and patches with marijuana extract can provide localised pain relief when applied to the skin. CBD-only topicals are legal.

The suitable consumption method depends on your condition, preferences and desired effects. Work closely with your medical provider to determine the best approach. Start low and go slow with dosing to find the optimal amount.

Is Medical Marijuana Legal in the UK? 

Medical marijuana is now legal since the law was changed in 2018, but only for products available on prescription, and in reality, very few people are likely to get a prescription from their GP unless they have severe epilepsy, MS, or are undergoing chemotherapy. 

Patients should consult their doctor to discuss if medical marijuana could benefit their condition, though access at this time remains extremely limited.

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